Walking Tour of Key West, Florida
Key West is the southernmost city in the continental USA and, besides its fantastic weather and climate, has drawn tourists for many years due to its devil-may-care residents and their strange activities. Ernest Hemingway lived here for many years and the Hemingway House is a major tourist spot. Also noteworthy is the Conch Tour Train, a wheeled train that takes visitors on a narrated tour of the major sights. Actually, it is a great way to begin a visit since it provides a wonderful orientation.
My walking tour begins at Mallory Square, at the end of Duval Street, the main thoroughfare of the Key West community. The famous square is also the location where residents and tourists alike assemble in the evening to watch the sunset.
Now leave the square and walk south on Duval Street to its intersection with Greene Street. On the southeast corner of the junction is one of Key West’s most famous drinking establishments, Sloppy Joe’s Bar. If it’s too early to take a liquid break, plan to return later in the day to sip a beverage and people-watch.
Continue south on Duval Street all the way to its end. Notice, along the way, the building purported to be the Oldest House in Florida, at 322 Duval Street. It was built in 1829 (I think St Augustine residents might dispute this claim). At the end of the street, on the corner of South Street, is the Southernmost House, a beautiful, two-story gabled Victorian home, surrounded by palm trees.
From here, turn right on South Street and walk to the Southernmost Point in the continental United States, marked by a colorful buoy, labeled with pertinent information. It makes a great photo-op!
Now walk north on Whitehead Street back toward Mallory Square. At 907 Whitehead Street, on the right-hand side of the street is the Ernest Hemingway House, one of the area’s major attractions. Tour the home where the noted author lived for many years and be sure to notice the polydactyl cats that roam the property.
Continue on Whitehead Street until you reach Caroline Street. Turn left here to visit the Heritage House Museum. The home displays furnishings of the period. At the rear of the house is a cottage used by poet, Robert Frost, for many winters.
After your visit, walk back to Whitehead Street and turn left. Look for the Audubon House and Gardens, at #205. The gardens contain many tropical plants. Now, continue north on Whitehead Street to Greene Street and turn right. The other famous drinking and eating establishment is located at 430 Greene Street. It is called Trails of Margaritaville and belongs to singer, Jimmy Buffet.
Now, continue to Duval Street and turn left to return to Mallory Square where the walking tour began.